Entries tagged as ‘election’

The Bradley Effect – Nada – RIP

November 5, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Based on the nearly complete results of the US Presidential election, it is fair to say that we can put the Bradley Effect onto the dusty shelves of history.

Many have argued that the so-called Bradley Effect was simply bad polling.  No polls were conducted in the final four days of the campaign.  That election happened when polling was less ubiquitous and less thorough.  Subsequent campaigns involving candidates of color (Douglas Wilder in Virginia, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Harry Ford Jr. in Tennessee) have polled very close to the final results.

Obama-Biden won the popular vote by a 6-point spread – on average this is exactly the total spread predicted by most national polls.  Even more telling was that the polled support for Obama among white voters also matched the final exit poll results.

So for now at least, the one issue that kept me up at nights even when the campaign was enjoying large polling leads has been put to rest.  And I say Rest In Peace.

Categories: McCain · Politics
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Phillies Win World Series, Right to Pick President

October 30, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series, it only seems fitting that we just let Pennsylvania pick the next President.

Think about it.  It would save a lot of money.  Both in running all of those polling stations and in legal fees.  The Republicans wouldn’t have to go through the nasty business of challenging and disenfranchising voters.  And the Democrats wouldn’t have to bring in Mickey Mouse to vote.  We wouldn’t have to go through the agony of post-vote challenges, missing ballots, court cases, and finally waking up the Supreme Court Justices from their afternoon naps to pick the winner.

It just seems so much simpler somehow.

But I suppose this being a “democracy”  and all (see McCain and his famous air quotes), we need to let everyone vote.  Instead, I’m just going to assume that whoever wins Pennsylvania on election night (and since it’s on the East Coast, we should get the results early here on the Left Coast) wins the whole sha-bang.  Given the “many paths to victory” of Obama-Biden we may all get a good night’s sleep, which would be a nice change for the large group of people who will remain nervous right up until January.  And beyond.

I’ve heard rumors that there have been another five assassination plans/attempts on Obama’s life in addition to the two bumbling rednecks that were recently announced.  It’s sad that at a moment when we all – regardless of who we support, or our political outlook or party affiliation – ought to be celebrating a milestone in the history of this great country – the election of a black man to the highest position in the land – we are instead worried about the worst happening.  So clearly we’ve come a long way, and we still have a long way to go.  Some have further to go than others.

So congratulations to the Phillies, from far and wide.  Well played.

Now go vote.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Politics
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Opie & Friends Talk About The Election

October 23, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Opie, Sherriff Taylor and The Fonz ask you to support Obama in the upcoming election – and make sure you’re registered and you vote!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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McCain-Palin Try to Disenfranchise New Voters

October 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

What’s all this about ACORN, Ohio database mismatches and the like?  It’s simply the McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican party trying to intimidate new voters into either not voting, or making sure that their votes don’t count when they’re cast.

The campaign follows in a long line of disenfranchisement efforts that stretch back to Jim Crow laws, and includes the well-documented shenanigans that made the 2000 and 2004 US elections on par with third world rigged elections, and about which America should be ashamed.

The ultimate debacle of course happened in Florida – led by the embarrassing Katherine Harris (see my post on the parallels between Palin and Harris here).  There the Republican Secretary of State Harris, working in conjunction with George W. Bush lawyers and George’s brother Jeb, the Republican Governor of Florida, decided the outcome of the Presidential election by refusing to count votes made in support of the Democrat Al Gore, in addition to other procedural decisions that effectively disenfranchised the votes of those who did not support Bush.

McCain-Palin know that there has been a huge surge of new voter registrations, mostly by young and minority voters.  This surge helped Obama defeat the political machine of Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  These new voters remain energized and likely to vote in the upcoming election.  The problem is that Obama-Biden leads McCain-Palin by enormous margins.  So what’s a campaign to do?

The answer is simple:

  1. Keep voter turnout low.
  2. Don’t count votes for the opponent.

The Republicans have a long tradition of trying to scare voters they think will vote against them.  They’ve used “push polling” to give out bad advice to likely Democratic voters:  the wrong voting location, the wrong election day.  (They’ve also used “push polling” to spread lies like phantom illegitimate mixed race babies, like Bush did against McCain in the primaries, but I digress).  They’ve spread false information about the voting process or voting requirements intended to scare voters away from participation.  Yes, they’ve even starved areas of necessary resources in order to ensure long lines and more inconvenience in order to discourage voting.  Shameful, really.

Ohio matters:  perhaps you’ve read recently about the Supreme Court ruling against the Republicans.  The Supreme Court just ruled on Friday, October 17th, 2008, overturning a decision of a Federal Appeals Court.  The Republicans were trying to compel the Secretary of State of Ohio (a Democrat) to turn over to the Republicans a list of new voters for whom there were some database mismatches against other governmental lists, like the DMV record.  The Republicans were going to use this list to give to partisan poll workers who would then challenge voters individually when they came in to vote.  They would seek to either not allow the people to vote, or to have their ballots made “provisional” – meaning they’d be kept separate, not counted with the general votes, and only counted after long protracted legal wrangling if that might help the Republicans.  Think about it – the Republicans have a strategy of keeping voter turnout low and trying to prevent having people’s votes from counting.  Even if the information is faulty, or the mismatches something as simple as a change of address, or a misspelled name as the result of an error by a government worker (Sara instead of Sarah?  Palin instead of Palen?).  Most experts estimate that in excess of 80% of the mismatches are just these kinds of simple errors.  For a detailed report on the Ohio decision, read this New York Times article:  Justices Block Effort to Challenge Ohio Voters.

Who amongst you has never had a simple government data entry error with their name or address?

In addition to Ohio, McCain-Palin have made ACORN central rallying cry for their campaign recently (we can only hope this central message lasts as long as the previous 20).  ACORN is an organization that seeks to bring low income people into the political process, and to advocate for low income housing and the preservation of jobs for the low and unskilled.  As part of an effort to increase the appallingly low voter registration rates in this group, they paid canvassers to go out into these low income neighborhoods and get people to register.  Some of these 1,600 paid canvassers apparently made up names on their list.  But ACORN had a solution for this:  they themselves would segregate the names into three categories:  those that seemed to be OK, those that were probably not OK, and those that might not be OK – and they identified the names with these categories when they submitted them.  In fact, it would be illegal for the organization to “throw out” names they thought were bad.  Imagine, should an organization be able to decide what they submit and what they don’t when someone thinks they’ve signed up to vote?  I think not.  Should they be able to ask how the person will vote and then only register Democrats, or only register Republicans?  Of course not.  But the Republicans know that the efforts of ACORN are probably bringing more Democrats than Republicans to registration, so they are attempting to discredit the entire effort.  By the way, does “ACORN” sound scary to you?  If it does, it’s just an indication of how effective the right-wing scare machine is.  It stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  Liberal?  Yes.  A threat to the very existence of democracy?  Hardly.  And we saw at the Republican convention how icky and scary this batch of Republicans like Giuliani and Palin think “community organizing” is.  More cynical politics and more class warfare, courtesy of McCain-Palin.  It would be laughable if it didn’t have such serious consequences.

The Republicans want to win at all costs.

It galls me that Republicans would seek less participation in the electoral process.  But that’s exactly what’s happening.

That’s disenfranchisement.  And that’s just palin wrong.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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An Intelligent Election?

October 2, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’ve got a modest proposal.  Rather than spending a gazillion dollars (OK, it’s only several hundred million dollars) on the election, and risking having the Treasury Secretary come swooping in to buy up all of the candidates, we settle it simply with a test.

I hope that we can all agree that intelligence matters.  We’ve suffered through 8 years of a guy who isn’t that bright (just ask his Harvard Business School classmates, as I have, off the record), but who some of us apparently wanted to have a beer with.  Funny, I think he’s a teetotaler now, having drunk and snorted his way to near oblivionn, but I digress.

OK, intelligence matters.

While not perfect, the IQ test has a lot going for it.  It’s been around a long time.  It’s rather the de facto standard.  It doesn’t put too much weight on accumulated knowledge, but rather attempts to get to some core traits that define intelligence.

Now the top of the ticket is definitely more important than the second slot.  So here’s what we do.  We pick a day, make all four candidates show up.  We have a stern looking teacher-type there to administer the test.  Then we calculate the IQ’s of the candidates.  The candidate for President’s score is at face value (remember 100 is average, 85 is the highest end of retarded).  The Vice Presidential candidate’s score is 50% of face value.

Whichever ticket has the highest calculated score wins.  We call it a day.

So what do you think?  McCain?  Palin?  Obama?

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology
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Lipstick on a Pig

October 2, 2008 · 1 Comment

Sarah Palin is lipstick…

… John McCain is the pig.

When the “controversy” first broke over Obama’s use of the old “lipstick on a pig – same old pig” statement, with the right wing blustering in fake outrage about the sexism of the statement, I didn’t think too much about it.  It seemed like more of the same ridiculousness at high volume you’d expect from the McCain campaign and O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck et al.

But at the gym this morning, it occurred to me why it’s stayed with me.  It’s true.  They just got the roles wrong.  You see they were trying to say that Obama called Palin a pig.

Obama should have said

“No, I wasn’t calling Sarah Palin a pig.  I was calling John McCain a pig.  You see, the saying refers to taking something that’s ugly (Bush’s failed policies) and dressing them up in different makeup and trying to sell them as something pretty.  And that’s what McCain is trying to do.  Remember when he was the ‘Experience candidate’?  Now it’s supposedly all about change.  Sorry, but McCain and his proposals are still pigs.”

But that would be too confrontational for the gentlemanly, cool, professorial Obama.

Now I suppose instead of saying that McCain is the pig, we could say that Bush’s policies are the pig, and McCain’s policies are the same pig with the lipstick of a McCain-Palin ticket, but that would lack the punch.  There’s something viscerally satisfying about saying that McCain is the pig, delicately sweetened with just the hint of guilty pleasure.  And anyway, if people couldn’t see the context of the Obama comment for what it was – a knock on the failed Bush policies, they’d miss the subtlety of the more refined argument anyway.

So Palin is the lipstick, McCain is the pig.  And you can put lipstick on the pig, but it’s still a pig.

So there.  I’ve said it.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology
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